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tv   The Communicators Net Neutrality  CSPAN  December 11, 2017 8:00am-8:34am EST

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again, thank you, everybody, and thank you, meryl. [applause] >> you are watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. dd, television for serious readers. .. >> and later this afternoon, the center for strategic and international studies takes a look at u.s. investment in developing countries. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily.
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in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> host: and on this week's "communicators," a discussion on the fcc's upcoming debate and vote on repealing the net neutrality regulations. a couple of weeks ago previn can carr -- brendan carr was a guest on this program. here's what he had to say about net neutrality. >> in a nutshell, what this document proposes to do -- and i'll be voting for it december 14th -- is return the internet to the exact same regulatory framework that governed the internet starting from 2015 all the way back from 20 years that preceded it. and under that environment we saw mass investment, we saw consumers protected and free and
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open internet. most fundamentally, we all believe in a prix and open internet -- free and open internet, but what's the right regulatory framework to support that. >> host: gigi sohn, you were at the fcc with democratic chair tom wheeler during the time that net neutrality was debated. what did you think of what commissioner carr had to say? >> guest: i think commissioner carr was engaging in a little bit of revisionist history. number one, it deregulates broadband, okay? it basically takes broadband oversight out of the fcc entirely and gives it to the federal trade commission which does not have strong tools. that's number one. number two, it eliminates the rules against internet service providers like comcast and at&t blocking, throttling internet traffic and allowing for what's called fast lanes. so in other words, charging
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online providers to get to the consumer faster with better quality of service. and thirdly, and this is really important, it preempts or prohibits the states from protecting consumers and protecting competition with similar rules. so this is very, very radical departure from 20 years of both republican and democratic fcc chairs saying, number one, we think the fcc has the authority to protect consumers and competition, and we think that we should actually do something about it. so i disagree with commissioner carr's telling of the history. >> host: why did your, during your tenure at the fcc, did it feel necessary to have title ii? for the internet? >> guest: so in january of 2014 the d.c. circuit court of appeals, that's the federal court of appeals here in washington, d.c., overturned chairman genachowski's rules. he had net neutrality rules that
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were grounded in a different part of the communications act, okay? title i. and they were pretty strong rules. i didn't agree with all of them, i thought they could have been stronger. in fact, when i was at a nonprofit, we supported the fcc in court. but the court said, i'm sorry, you cannot have these strong rules under title i of the communications act. so "news of the world" to have strong -- so "news of the world" to have strong -- in order to have strong rules, it had to be grouped in title ii. even more importantly and i think this is critical, we did not apply all of title ii to broadband internet access. in fact, we didn't apply 30 of 47 provisions of title ii because we didn't think it would be in the public interest to overregulate broadband. >> host: well, robert mcdowell, former republican commissioner on the fcc, you've herald a little built of this discussion. what's your view? >> guest: first of all, thanks for having me back, peter. it's great to be on, and happy holidays to everyone.
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hopefully, at the end of the segment we can say the same thing. [laughter] i think it's important to talk about history, and, you know, there's a lot being written about this debate, and so thank you for having opportunity for us to kind of go into what are the facts and what is the history, and what does it actually mean for consumers and entrepreneurs. there are a lot of articles that are purely click bait. so commissioner carr has a good point, that was a good clip to play . we are going to define net neutrality's maximum internet freedom for consumers and entrepreneurs and everybody in this space, really the debate is over which federal statute that already exists is the best to do that to protect consumers. if you look at how the internet started when it was privatized in the mid '90s up until february 2015, you saw about $1.4 trillion invested in broadband infrastructure alone during that period of time. so there are three acts, at least three federal statutes that protect consumers and
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entrepreneurs and they're very powerful. and they do have teeth, and they're the sherman act, the clayton act and the federal trade commission act. there are also state protectionings. yes, the order says it preempts the statements from being miniature fccs and trying to regulate the economics of broadband, but what it doesn't do does not prevent state attorneys general, for instance, from suing internet service providers if they harm consumers. consumer protection laws at the state level. plus they're the plaintiffs' lawyers, trial lawyers who can bring class action lawsuits if internet service providers breach their contracts with consumers. so those three powerful federal statutes at least plus a bunch of state actions have provided since the begin of course the internet a strong and powerful disincentive to act in an anticompetitive way that harms consumers. on top of that, you have a more competitive and robust broadband market. the internet market, broadband has been going mobile for many, many years. over about 90% of u.s. consumers
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have a choice of four mobile broadband providers. and that is a key element here. mobile broadband has faster speeds today than cable did ten years ago when this debate was starting to ramp up. and that is becoming a competitive threat to cable. we're seeing more over the top, fragmented content and apps. i look at my kids, age ls 16, 18 and 10, they're looking at the mobile scream. they're looking at over the top, on demand type video. and that -- we're seeing the marketplace trying to adjust to that. you're seeing more attempts at vertical integration, verizon buying aol and yahoo!, comcast's purchase of nbc universal which was blessed by the obama fcc. all of those are defifns because the internet marketplace is disrupting these incup bents -- incumbents. you saw last monday, cyber monday, really become mobile monday with about half of all the purchases maden on cyber
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monday over mobile devices. more than half of all u.s. households are wireless only. so this is actually a very good news for consumers. and what the order will do at the fcc, it will preserve consumer protection and protection for entrepreneurs, and it will allow more certainty for the investment of over $300 billion that's going to be needed in the next ten years to build out fifth generation wireless networks which will have one gigahertz of speed or six times faster than what you enjoy now with 4g and three million jobs and the $500 billion in economic activity that should come from that. so you can have a win-win-win environment like you had until the title ii order injected a certain amount of certainty. we can debate whether or not there's been a downturn in capital expenditures to fund these new broadband networks.
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there's a lot of data out there, i'm sure gigi will try to refute it, and that'll be good. [laughter] the last thing i'll say is, you know, i'm glad i'm here with gigi, we've lost nuance and facts, and so i'm delighted we have this chance on -- >> guest: so if i could shed some light and shed some facts. let's talk about the federal trade commission because, as i said before and as rob has confirmed, what chairman pai is trying to do is give over all oversight to broadband, broadband internet access over to the federal trade commission. first of all, i find that remarkable. the fcc started in 1934, and it was told by congress that your job is to oversee networks, right? whether they be broadcast networks or cable networks or the telephone network. so this fcc is saying we don't want to have oversight to access to the most important network of our lifetime, and i just find that remarkable. we want to give it to the
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federal trade commission. well, why does the federal trade commission fall short? it falls short for a number of reasons. number one, it has no rulemaking authority. rules are important. they prevent harm before it happens, okay? harm to consumers and harm to competition, that's number one. number two, the ftc sees its authority as very narrow over unfair and deceptive trade practices meaning that if an internet service provider lies and says i'm not going to block, i'm not going to throttle, i'm not going to have fast lanes and goes ahead and does that, then it will go after the internet service provider. it's not going to do anything if, for example, let's say comcast decides to double its prices one day. the ftc can do nothing about it. what if an isp blocks speech it doesn't like? the ftc can do nothing about it. even more importantly, and this is something that really gets lost, there is a case right now pending in california in the
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ninth circuit court of appeals that would strip the fcc of all oversight over broadband even if chairman pai and the fcc reclassifies. this case is out there, it was brought by at&t interestingly enough. so even if chairman pai and his colleagues reclassify the ftc would not have horse over broadband -- authority over broadband if at&t wins this case, and it's still pending in the courts. let me talk a little bit about competition, if i might. chairman pai put out his own numbers about who has broadband internet access at the speeds that the fcc considers broadband internet access. and his numbers look like this: 58% of all census blocks have a choice of zero or one broadband internet access provider, 87% have a choice of two or less. and let me just say, when you measure by census block the way the fcc measures, if one person
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in a census block has broadband, then they all have broadband. so those numbers are even worse. nobody knows what it is on a household basis because the internet service providers are not required to give that information over to the government. that is not competition. and mobile is great and maybe one day 5g will provide speeds that the fcc considers broadband, but today it doesn't do that. >> guest: there's a lot there. where to begin. first of all, the ftc can intervene if speech is being blocked or the department of justice can. so you've got sherman act, sections one and two, clayton act, section three, you have section five of the federal trade commission act is actually broad and flexible and nimble. and you don't have to fund a lawsuit, you don't have the hire expensive lawyers. the federal trade commission itself is a $313 million agency with 640 lawyers and 70 ph.d. economists, and what they do in part is look for trends, look for bottlenecks, and they are
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giant public interest law firms, essentially. so the horrors, the parade of horribles that come out from the title ii proponents can all be cured by antitrust law. and it's interesting, you know, the first six years of the obama administration we didn't see a net neutrality complaint brought to fruition or an antitrust complaint brought to fruition. so this begs the question, what was broken that you were trying to fix with title ii, right? that's because these ore competitive market forces as well as those three federal statutes i mentioned plus all the state law acts as a very powerful deterrent. and, yes, there are a couple of handfuls of incidents that she might cite, all of which, by the way, were resolved before the title ii order and were never really brought to a head even after the december 2010 other innocent neutrality or open -- net neutrality or open internet order was voted on by the fcc. >> guest: an antitrust order takes years to come to fruition, and it's harder for the public
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to bring these kind of cases. so -- >> guest: the -- [inaudible] >> guest: antitrust gets into competition. so let's say you're a start-up, okay, and you can't afford to go in the fast lane, and your investors are saying we're not going to invest in you unless you can get in the fast lane somehow, unless people can see you, you don't have time for an antitrust case to wedged us way -- wend its way through the courts. and this is why rules are so important p. rules moderate bad behavior, they let consumers know what their rights are, and they protect consumers and competition before they're harmed. and ftc and antitrust law can't to that. >> guest: so actually it can, but let's go to our -- [inaudible conversations] >> guest: it is nimble and flexible. section three of the clayton act would prevent, it's against section three of the clayton act exactly what you just said, you're lessening competition. so the ftc and department of justice can act and act quickly,
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didn't because they did not have systemic market failure here, and that's one thing that was lack anything the 2015 fcc order under title ii, a market study saying there's systemic market failure. let's go the point of regulation before the fact, some like myself would call it, mother, may i. do you have to go to the commission, the fcc, in order to present your case to say can i do this, can the marketplace experiment in such a way. one example is zero ratings. t-mobile had a product which is certain video would not count against your data cap, can we do it. at first the fcc gave a green light to it, and then it gave a yellow light and said, wait a minute, we're not sure we want this. this was very popular with the public, and t-mobile was saying, look, all we're doing is if you meet these parameters, technical parameters, it won't count against consumers' data caps. this was very popular. but in the meantime, because it was the mother may i get
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permission from the government, there was an interruption for months and months and months it wasn't just a day or two or a couple weeks. would popular zero rating be able to happen. this was also caught internationally when free internet service was india, we're not india, but you can't offer free internet service to mother teresa's poorest of the poor because that could violate these tenets. and that's when it starts becoming unworkable. and markets and analysts and the folks who have to fund $300 billion to build out 5g start saying, well, we're going to deploy that slowly if at all, and there's lots of evidence in the record from these mom and pop, one or two-person operations that service rural areas, evidence in the record saying 80% of their members have been told by their lenders, their local banks, they wouldn't get the money or as much as they needed in order to build out their networks.
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that's really the main reason chairman pai's doing what he's doing. >> guest: i'll get to the investment in a second, but i need to talk about mother may i. no blocking, no throttling, no fast lanes or -- [inaudible conversations] >> guest: that is, that is prohibited, okay? [inaudible conversations] >> guest: no, it's not prohibited by antilaw. you can you can realize -- antitrust law. you can read your -- >> guest: you have notes too. >> guest: you're right. that's number one. nurple two, we left zero rating open. i'm not sure it was the best beyond all doubt. zero rating is not about free data, okay? it's about favoring certain applications and saying they do not apply to the data cap. now, we didn't have a problem with -- [inaudible] what we had a problem with was at&t favoring its directv content and saying the data cap does not apply. i want to ask as a general question if video does not get applied to the data cap, if that
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is zero rating, why do you have a data cap in the first place? the reason is to create scarcity so you can fave your own content. so we did not bar zero rating. there were a lot of calls to do so, but we did not do it just so we could make sure that that we would allow new zero rating models to happen. and some, like t-mobile's, was fine. at&t we were about to say and then ran out of time was not fine because it favored its own content. let me talk about investment, because i think that's really, really important. people have to see and listen to what the isps say to wall street and not what they say to washington d.c. okay? not one publicly-traded isp told its investors or told the securities and exchange commission that title ii harmed its investment. in fact, it said the exact opposite. the ceo of charter, the ceo of comcast has said title ii, we're afraid, but title ii -- which is
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the stronger regulation, the more utility-like regulation -- would not harm us. if you would just give me a minute, peter, i have to read something from charter's blog post from just last week. two sentencings. while customers may experience speed upgrades as if a switch had been flipped, they were made possible by charter's ongoing investments in infrastructure and technology. these investments allow us to better serve our customers every day in ways big and small. since 2014 charter has invested more than $21 billion in these critical areas. so they are investing, and that's what they tell wall street. >> guest: loss there. so, first of all, it's demonstrable in wireless in the past two years cap-ex has fallen about 18%, some of that's from public information, but it's fallen 18% right at a crucial time when we need to build out 5g. and, by the way, that's a global competitiveness issue. we beat europe and asia to 4g
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thanks to strong bipartisan efforts, but they're going to beat us to 5g be we're not careful so -- if we're not careful here. but data caps are gone, why? because competition in wireless. you don't see data caps anymore, so it's kind of a moot point. >> guest: why are you worried about zero rating then? >> guest: but i use it as an example of mother may i, not whether there's a -- >> guest: there's still data cap, come on. >> guest: well, go out and renegotiate your contract, that's what i tell my friends. [laughter] i talked about this earlier, verizon buying aol and yahoo!, at&t with trek tv and directv now. all of those are isps that have content and others too, but even if they're licensing content and reselling other people's, they have an incentive to show their content on this. they want their customers, wherever they have, to be watching their content on this
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whether they're a wireless company or not. so if comcast has nbc universal content and this is a verizon wireless phone, they don't want verizon wireless throttling on or blocking their content. at the same time, at&t doesn't want some orr company blocking their content. so other isps, it's almost a form of mutual assured destruction. if one starts blocking or throttling their content at in this point because of market developments, then the others -- you'll start a war with it, and it's going to, they're all going to kill big revenue streams. it's not logical for them to do that. in other words, the incentives are there for them to not block and throttle each other's content precisely because of vertical integration. and this is a point that just doesn't get discussed in any of the news stories you see about this issue. yet one more market pressure that's keeping markets open. >> guest: but what you're not discussing, rob, is both the federal communications commission and the department of justice both in this administration and the previous administration found that vertically integrated carriers
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have the incentive and ability the discriminate. so when charter bought time warner cable, when at&t bought directv and now as at&t is attempting to buy time warner entertainment -- being blocked by the justice department -- all three times the record has shown that the government's been concerned that there is this incentive and ability by these vertically integrated operators to favor their own to content. so it's really, it goes against all the records of the mergers that have, big mergers that have happened in the past several years. >> guest: it was approved by the department of justice -- >> guest: that was unfortunate, in my opinion. >> guest: well -- [laughter] obama is the president who appointedded you to the fcc, or he should have anyway. [laughter] >> guest: haven't gotten there yet. >> guest: maybe someday. might be a spot opening, i hear. go ahead. >> host: what are you hearing? >> guest: you never know, some terms might be up, and maybe gigi's a candidate can.
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>> host: gigi sohn, one to of the arguments that the republican side has made about this is what commissioner mcdowell said a minute ago, that this is a problem looking for a solution. there have been no throttles or net neutrality cases that would justify title ii. >> guest: well, even rob admits that there have been, right? comcast blocked bit torn, at&t verizon blocked google wallet, netflix was being throttled both by comcast and verizon in 2014. i mean, there are examples. have there been dozens? no. and that's because until now fcc chairs have believed in an open internet. even though there was disagreement as to whether it should be a policy statement or rules or whether it should be under title i or title ii, this is the first time that anybody's said, you know, no rules, no policy, no authority whatsoever. so is the internet service providers were with on their
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best behavior. i will tell you one thing, if this thing goes through -- which i expect it to next week -- within six months or maybe whenever the litigation is over, comcast/at&t and others will start charging online providers for faster service, better quality of service, what i call fast lane. it will happen. you know, the proposal that chairman pai put out talks a lot about innovative new business models that the isps want to do. this is what he's talking about. he's talking about fast lanes. he talks about two-sided markets, he's talking about fast lanes. this is what the internet service providers have wanted to do since 2005 when ed whitacre who was then the head of at&t said i'm not going to allow those companies to ride over my pipes for free. and one by one the companies are admitting in one way or another that this is what they want to do. so that's what people should expect should go through. >> host: commissioner mcdowell, as gigi sohn said
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earlier, without the government, without strict rules we have isps deciding who canning be online. >> guest: nope. there are strict rules as i said at the outset. there are three very strong, powerful federal statutes. there are two very strong government federal agencies, there are 50 states' attorneys general, there are plaintiffs' lawyers all over the place, there are so many legal. >> guest: preempted. >> guest: no, not for consumer protection. >> guest: i i think you need to read the -- >> guest: i did read the proposal. and if they're acting in a deceptive way, deceptive trade practice -- >> guest: deceptive. >> guest: absolutely. there are tons of legal arrows here to protect consumers. let me just read you something. as a republican, you know, george w. bush appointee to the fcc i was defending clinton/gore administration policy. there are plenty of rulings. if this internet dystopia is going to happen, why wasn't it
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there when the title ii order came along? everything i've just said for the past 20 minutes was out there as a counterbalance providing the greatest deregulatory success story of all time which is the american internet ecosphere which is the envy of the world. oh, my goodness, how did it get there before we asked the government for permission to innovate? let me read you back in 1998, william kennard in a report to congress that became known as the stevens report said turning specifically to the matter of internet access we note that classifying internet access services as telecommunications services could have significant consequences for the global development of the internet. we recognize the unique quality of the internet and do not presume that legacy regulatory frameworks are appropriately applied to it. and then two years later he said, if i can flip the page in time, it just doesn't make sense to apply 100-year-old regulations meant for copper
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wires and giant switching stationings to the ip networks of today. we now know decisions once made by governments can be better and faster be made by consumers, and we know that markets can move faster than laws. hang on a second. i'm just quoting bill. [laughter] it has been the bipartisan history that this is the climate where consumers were protected, entrepreneurs were protected. the uncertainty came with the over 1,000 requirements of title ii and on a what day and which fcc chair may not decide to implement some of those requirements. it's unfair to chairman pai, our mutual friend, to say there are no rules. we're going back to the clinton/gore era rules. >> guest: okay, i just need -- so in 1998 when bill kennard said that, the companies that provide the onramp toss the internet were regulated far more heavily than they are now. they were regulated subject to the full panoply, the thousand regulations that you talked about. that's not happening now, okay?
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>> guest: no. >> guest: and, in fact -- >> guest: no, no. >> guest: let me finish -- >> guest: i will. >> guest: okay? those internet providers which are many of the same companies here, they're mostly telephone companies, they actually had to share their networks with competitors. they had to make their networks available. and at that time there were 7,000 isps, and the average american had access to 13 internet service providers. we are certainly not in that world now. so 1998 was a very, very difficult world -- >> guest: so let's talk about that. i'll be real quick. she's talking about the underlying copper wires that were regulated under title ii, but internet access services have never been regulated -- >> guest: now it's been merged, and that's the problem. >> guest: well, you do have tech companies and wireless companies and phone companies all merging with -- >> guest: google does not provide access to the internet, as powerful as it is. >> guest: conveying lots of 1s and 0s. go ahead. >> host: is there a role for
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congress in this debate? >> guest: yes. of course. i mean, we're going to see this ping-pong back and forth, and, you know, there are surprise elections apparently -- [laughter] so who knows what might happen in 2020 or 2024. and it would be nice to find a win-win-win scenario. they were close three years ago, four years ago, and i think we can get there. >> guest: i will say the only reason this is a ping-pong game is because internet service providers have picked up the paddle. we had clear words affirmed by two courts of appeal. congress could have a role, i do not believe that this congress will protect consumers and competition. i think it will take the fcc out of oversight of the broadband market, and that can't happen. >> host: a preview of the upcoming fcc debate on net neutrality repeal. gigi sohn, where are you now? >> guest: i'm at georgetown law center, and i have several other fellowships. >> host: and former fcc chairman robert mcdowell, or -- where
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are you nowing? >> i'm a chief public policy adviser and still affiliated with the hudson institute. >> guest: i'm not the only person who has more than one fellowship. [laughter] >> host: thank you both for being on. >> guest: thank you, peter. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> this morning the aspen institute hears from former officials from the clinton, george w. bush and obama administrations about foreign policy challenges and emerging threats to u.s. national security. among the speakers, former national security adviser susan rice and former defense
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secretary william cohen. that's live at 9:30 a.m. eastern here on c-span2. and later today a rook at u.s. investments -- a look at u.s. investments in developing countries. that's from the center for strategic and international studies live here on c-span2 starting at 1 p.m. eastern. >> the c-span bus is traveling across the country on our 50 capitals tour. we recently stopped in tallahassee, florida, asking folks what's the most important issue in their state. >> and the most important issue to my state is funding. a lot of times we talk about the lack of resources and the lack of -- the quality of the education at hbcus. however, it all starts at the source. the board of governors, everything, the amount of money that they give us, it's important that we rally for us to get funding, but it also has to do with the amount of students who are attending our institutions. so i think it's very important for us to start at home where we're telling students come to
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hbcus, come to famu, and it starts from there, and then we can rally from the funding, that's the primary issue. >> the most important issue to me in the state of florida is education because be we don't give our kids the skills they need to get a great job in the future, i don't know what our society holds. >> one of the most important issues in florida is the educational opportunity access. as a first generation student and a low income student, i pride myself on the importance of being able to afford the opportunity for students to be able to participate in educational opportunities across america. i understand that funding is not always resourceful, and funding is not always available, but there needs to be an ongoing push and discussion for those that are considered the underserved. >> my issue or my concern is the quality of life. not the quantity, but the quality of life, in my humble
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opinion, i believe that developers are overdeveloping nice communities that make it -- they don't make it where it's as pleasant as it could be. ♪ >> voices from the statements on c-span -- from the states on c-span. >> next, national counterterrorism center director nicholas rasmussen talks about growing terror threatings. he's also asked about president trump's choice to recognize jerusalem as the capital of israel and the potential impact of that decision. mr. rasmussen has been in charge of the national counterterrorism center for the last three years and will step down at the end of this month. from the carnegie endowment for international peace, this is just under an hour. [inaudible conversations]
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